Before the Stockholm Sweden Temple was built, Latter-day Saints living in Scandinavia traveled to temples in Bern, Switzerland, and London, England.
The Latter-day Saint faith first made its way to Sweden by way of a Swedish seaman, John E. Forsgren from Gavle, who discovered the Church in Boston, Massachusetts. He returned to his homeland as a missionary in 1850 and baptized his brother Peter, the first convert to join the Church in Sweden, and his sister Ericka. Word reached the government authorities and John was deported back to the United States.
In 1910 a proposal to ban Mormon missionaries was brought before the ‘riksdag’ and King Gustaf V. The proposal was defeated and missionaries were permitted to preach the Gospel. One hindrance to Church growth in Sweden, however, was that in the early days many members emigrated to the United States, specifically to Utah, so that they could enjoy the blessings of the temple, be near the prophet of the Church, and live in a society that shared their faith. Mass emigration continued until the 1950’s, when the Switzerland Temple was build and members were encouraged by Church leaders to stay and build up the Church in their home countries.
By 1927 membership had increased to 1,674; and with various events taking place throughout the next sixty years, the Church increased considerably in membership.
At a Scandinavian Area General Conference held in August 1974, President Spencer W. Kimball asked, “Is there any reason why you shouldn’t have a temple? Do you want a temple? Would you use it? You can have a temple! You can have a temple in each of your lands! But all of this is taken care of as we proselyte and bring converts into the Church.”
As of 2014, there were 9,400 members in Sweden.
On 1 April 1981, the Stockholm Sweden Temple was announced. The announcement was received with virtually no opposition.
There were numerous sites explored for the building of the temple. After many discussions with several municipalities in the Stockholm area, two suitable lots were found. A committee of local Church leaders suggested one of them, but the President of the Church decided that the other would be better. This decision has proven to be inspired, since the other lot later proved to be unsuitable for a temple.
The one decided upon by church leaders was in Västerhaninge in Haninge Municipality, just south of Stockholm. Municipal officials and merchants welcomed the temple project, and later the Municipality showed further support by changing the name of the street on which the temple is located to Tempelvägen (“The Temple Road”).
Church apostle Thomas S. Monson broke ground for the temple on 17 March 1984. He later reminisced, “The sun was not shining. It was cold. … With the help of a torch we cut through the ice so that we could turn the sod. Overnight it froze over again, and we had to clear the ice again.”
Construction of the Stockholm Sweden Temple was unexpectedly delayed for over a year when the government asked the Church to suspend construction so while archeologists excavated some Viking burials found in the area and removed anything of value.
“It’s like being in heaven,” commented a visitor to the open house of the Stockholm Sweden Temple. The response was positive from the 47,609 visitors who toured the building, resulting in the distribution of 2,200 copies of the Book of Mormon and 1,213 referral cards. More than half of the referrals came from within boundaries of the ward where the temple is located.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the Stockholm Sweden Temple 2 July 1985. At the first dedicatory session of the Temple, President Hinckley stated, “This is the most significant day in the history of the Church in Scandinavia.”
The cultural diversity of the Stockholm Sweden Temple District was evidenced in the translation of the dedicatory sessions—four of which were translated into Swedish, three into Finnish, two into Norwegian, and two into Danish.
It is the 34th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the first in Scandinavia
On August 23, 1995, Swedish eyes turned to the Stockholm Sweden Temple where President Thomas S. Monson assisted in welcoming Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia to the grounds of the temple for their annual “Eriksgata” excursion. A plaque on the temple grounds memorializes the occasion.
President Monson spoke on that occasion of having checked historical records of the Church in Sweden and of having discovered that there was no formal dedication of Sweden itself for missionary work. (The nations of Scandinavia are believed to have been dedicated by Apostle Erastus Snow on June 14, 1850, in a prayer offered in Copenhagen, Denmark.) On July 7, 1977, President Monson rededicated Sweden for the preaching of the gospel.
“As I offered the prayer of rededication of Sweden, I emphasized that the future of the Church in Sweden will be maximized when the membership of the Church and the missionaries work hand in hand in meeting and teaching the gospel to others,” he said.
Further, President Monson added, “This is God’s work. We are His children. We love Him. . . . Let’s show the Lord that we love Him. Let’s keep His commandments, and Zion will flourish in the Lands of the North. Let this day be a day of a new beginning. If there is anything that we’re doing that we shouldn’t be doing, today is the day to make a change. If there is any commandment where we’ve been a little lax in honoring it, let this day – the day of the visit of Their Majesties, the King and Queen – mark the day of further righteousness on our part.”
About 15 miles south of Sweden’s capital city, in a community called Västerhaninge, the Stockholm Sweden Temple illuminates this northern land on long winter nights. The temple sits on a 4.5-acre lot amidst a tall pine forest. A charming cobblestone path cuts across the temple’s verdant landscaping and forested lot leading up to the front doors.
Adjacent to the temple site are a patron and missionary housing facility, the stake center for the Stockholm Sweden South Stake, and the temple president’s residence.
Swedish architect John Sjöström was selected to design the Stockholm Sweden Temple. He went to great lengths to harmonize the temple with local architecture. The temple was built on a 4.5-acre lot in a striking modern style.
The temples exterior is composed of white masonry walls and a copper roof.
The angular design of the temple is accented by round windows
Spires and Moroni
The Temple is framed by six detached spire
the tallest of which supports a statue of angel Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet.
With 16,366 square feet, the Stockholm Sweden Temple has a baptistry, 4 instruction rooms, 3 sealing rooms for marriages and a celestial room, representing heaven on earth.
The area surrounding the temple is known for its Iron Age burial grounds, including Jordbro Grave Field. The temple itself was built on a part of the ancient Åby Grave Field (Åbygravfältet). Tempelvägen: Rapport från Arkeologikonsult, 2002:2, Delundersökning av Åbygravfältet i Västerhaninge (PDF) (Report). Arkeologikonsult/Norn ICS AB. pp. 2, 106. Retrieved 13 April 2017. (In Swedish)
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|1.||↑||Tempelvägen: Rapport från Arkeologikonsult, 2002:2, Delundersökning av Åbygravfältet i Västerhaninge (PDF) (Report). Arkeologikonsult/Norn ICS AB. pp. 2, 106. Retrieved 13 April 2017. (In Swedish)|